Music Reviews



Oiseaux-Tempête: Ütopiya?

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (8915)
Sep 15 2015
cover
Artist: Oiseaux-Tempête (@)
Title: Ütopiya?
Format: CD
Label: Sub Rosa (@)
Rated: *****
The journey of these "storm birds" - a translation of "Oiseaux-Tempete", the evocative name of the project that was born from the collaboration of Frederic D. Oberland, Stephane Pigneul - both of them are members of Farewell Poetry and Le Reveil des Tropiques - and Ben McConnell - former drummer and percussionist of dream pop duo Beach House - begins a couple of years ago from the open wounds of Greece , emblem of the capital-driven decline of Old Continent, on the self-titled album, whose notorious mural "Praying For Us" by Greek artist Pavlos Tsakonason the cover artwork summarized the emotional framework of that release, which deeply focused on the country, where the storm is tearing the Greek people apart. The birds decided to scatter over closest parts of Mediterranean for their second journey, whose travelling companion get the brilliant bass clarinet player Gareth David - we met his name when Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek spoke about Shivers to us -, who managed to blow a jazzy breeze into the updrafts and vortices of this output. The atmosphere is maybe even gloomier than the one of their debut and its menacing black clouds keep on piling up on the listening experience, but the addition of more diversified stylistical layers on post-rockish improvisational molasses makes their journey far more powerful and visionary. The inner harmony and the somber gracefulness of the session they render could give listeners the impression of gliding over a decadent reign, where a certain sense of detachment get more and more empathetic to understand the sorrow without a proper reliance. Have a listen.

Bill & Murray: A New Kind Of High

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (8911)
Sep 11 2015
cover
Artist: Bill & Murray
Title: A New Kind Of High
Format: CD
Label: Other Voices Records
Rated: *****
After the free download single "Rabbit Hole" which I reviewed back on April, here we are for finally reviewing the first album of the trio coming from Israel. The eight track album mix very well different music styles that were so common back in the 80s: we go from the dreamy pop of the Sarah Records bands, to the noisy guitars of Jesus & Mary Chain (like on "Bored"), passing from shoegaze atmospheres (like on "Scissors") or 90s pop attitude a la Lush (like on "Something To Fear"). Everything is blent and reprocessed in a nice and powerful way that it makes sounding the final result fresh and powerful. I'd suggest you to check "A New Kind Of High" just released on Other Voices Records, it's worth it. ...and by the way, you can judge from yourselves, here https://othervoicesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-new-kind-of-high

Basilisk: Traumland

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (8905)
Sep 06 2015
cover
Artist: Basilisk (@)
Title: Traumland
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
More Teutonic dark metal from in the form of Basilisk, from Southern Germany, who have been around since the late 90's with a few prior releases. They shouldn't be confused with other bands by the same name in the Black Metal genre as I know there are a few of them out there. This band isn't Black Metal, but some kind of dark, progressive, sorta gothic at times metal. Basilisk's lineup consists of Rudy- guitar & vocals; Tommy- keyboards & vocals; Frank - bass & vocals, and Ry- drums. Songs are in English and German, and you can almost figure out which is which from the track titles before you even listen. One of these guys sings melodically, and the other in that gruff and growly death metal voice. Interesting contrast. The guitar is typical metal, but the keyboards add a nice prog-gothy touch. In places I'm getting shades of Deep Purple (especially on "Schattenreich"), obviously due to the keyboard work. In fact, it's Tommy's keys that save this from being just another dark metal band. Calling the album by its English translation, 'Dreamland', I find the the dreams of Basilisk are pretty dark and doomy, even when the guy with the melodic voice is singing. The band comes on strong with "My Dying World", and although the opener is a bit of a mess musically, they manage to get your attention, if for nothing else but thinking "what metal genre does this really fall into?" They do manage to get it together for the kitchy-spooky "Schattenreich", a rabid rocker that would play well on Halloween with its doomy chimes and gothy keyboard parts. "A Man's Last Stand" has a hint of Black Sabbath to it, starting out strong but then meanders before it gets its groove back on the chorus near the end. By now it's time for the obligatory power ballad, which is the title track "Traumland" and I feel like I'm listening to the German equivalent of Spinal Tap. Oh boy. I'm almost glad the lyrics aren't in English, and you might just want to hit the skip button on this one. "Verstanden" sounds like several different songs wandering in aimless directions, getting by more on atmosphere than content. "Ships Under Black Flag" (the pirate number) has nary a yo-ho-ho or arrggh matey in it and the lack of much memorable except the keyboard riff sends it straight to Davey Jones' Locker. "Die Zeit" is mostly sturm und drang fury signifying...not much. "Love Hates Me" sounded promising from the intricate instrumental opening but mediocre songwriting sabotages this one in spite of the excellent musicianship. "Delirium" delves into the goth-industrial with chopped staccato guitar and those growly vocals really work here, but it would have worked better with a more martial rather than rock beat. The chorus with the clear vocals just doesn't make it at all. "Dreary Angels" is of similar ilk, except with glockenspiel over the top. The chorus is slightly better than the preceding track, but not by much. It does have a nifty Middle Eastern inspired keyboard break though. By this time a pattern is starting to emerge - put forth a great idea to start, then blow it on the chorus. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Accept the first thing that comes along? I dunno. The next track, "Illusions of Myself" suffers similarly. Perhaps the best idea Basilisk had was to cover Falco's "Out of the Dark". This could easily be the top song on the album, and given the metal treatment while remaining somewhat faithful to the original, the song gets the power it really deserves. Gee, if only the band could have written more material themselves on this level, they'd have had a great album. Closing with "Der Pakt", a medieval-themed number still in metal mode, it at least makes you feel like you got your money's worth in the variety department. While not a bad album, 'Traumland' has enough issues in the songwriting to keep it from becoming a really good album. Still, a worthwhile listen for a few tracks, and maybe that's all you can hope for in a German metal band of any stripe these days.

Amandas Nadel: Sticht

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (8904)
Sep 06 2015
cover
Artist: Amandas Nadel (@)
Title: Sticht
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
If you follow the German/Austrian dark and heavy alt-rock scene, you may be familiar with the name Amandas Nadel from his work in Roterfeld and Lolita Komplex. Here, the guitarist/vocalist strikes out on his own for the first time with his debut album, 'Sticht' with bassist Thomas Pfaller. Being somewhat unfamiliar with the current NDH genre (Neue Deutsche Härte or New German Hardness - think Oomph!, Rammstein, Stahlhammer, Megaherz, etc.) I had no idea what I was in for on 'Sticht'. Judging by the cover (which Nadel created by the way) I thought it might be a black-metal death-noise kind of thing. Definitely not that though. What we have here is German (or Austrian, if you want to be precise) melodic metal with a little bit of darkness woven in for an edge. Nadel's vocals are definitely melodic and not gruff, often harmonizing with himself. A couple of different drummers are employed on this album on different tracks - Alex Kerbl and Stefan Niklas, and they're both well up to the task. As with many albums (and especially debut albums), the best tracks come first. "Grinsekatze" ("Cheshire Cat") opens with a memorable guitar riff, a bit dark and mysterious on the verses, but on the chorus, very commercial sounding. Nadel's intense soloing ups the ante a notch, something that saves later so-so tracks from being ho-hum. "Vampir" begins with a little gothic organ, and then a guitar groove not dissimilar to Sister's of Mercy's "Vision Thing". It's a smokin' number that really grabs you even if you don't understand the lyrics (which if you don't know German, you won't). Nadel's harmonies are particularly good on this track. Things simmer down on "Mein Herz Sagt" ("My Heart Says"), a power ballad of sorts, beginning with a woman's voice saying "Blah, blah, blah, blah..., and that's exactly what I thought of this kind of power ballad. I suppose you have to change it up a little but a rather weak track in my estimation. We're back in regular rock mode for "Hei, Danke!", a song with a good hook and commercial sound, and of course Nadel's intense soloing which keeps this song from sounding ordinary. You know, it's not part of the NDH ethic to sing in English, but if this one had English lyrics, it could have American hit potential. "Die Warheit" ("The Truth") begins the descent into the ordinary, sounding like any other rock band, just in German. "Von Ewigkeit Zu Ewigkeit" ("Forever and Ever") doesn't impress much, and Amandas seems to be recycling some of his guitar chords on this one. "Männertränen" ("Tears of Men") seems like one of those songs that you really have to understand German to appreciate. "Der Schwarze Mann" is uptempo rocker but nothing special in the songwriting department, and ironically, the least dark thing on the album. "Sensucht" ("Longing") closes the album prior to the remixes, and might just be the heaviest thing on 'Sticht', or at least most of it.

Now we get to the remixes, both done by Nadel and labeled "Dance Remix; first "Vampir" then "Der Schwarze Mann". "Vampir" is given the burbling sequenced synth and programmed beats treatment and it works to a degree, but it won't eclipse the original. Might make its way into selected dance clubs though, with an open-minded dj. "Der Schwarze Mann" takes a similar path, albeit more experimental. I sort of liked this one better than the original just because it's kind of odd. Last track is "Fritz, der Maus", a kind of silly number that must have been done tongue-in-cheek. It's light on the verses and much heavier on the choruses. I'm sure that Deutsche-speaking folks probably find the song a hoot, but I'm just left scratching my head.

In conclusion, Amandas Nadel's 'Sticht' only barely squeaks by satisfying Chain D.L.K. genre requirements for review; it isn't necessarily gothic or industrial, but just dark enough to garner interest of our readers, and those familiar with Nadel's involvement in other projects more in line with what we cover might want to check it out. My advice to Herr Nadel- write darker songs and sing in English. I don't think your German fans will be put out, and you'll be likely to gain many more American ones

When: The Black Death

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
 Edit (8882)
Aug 25 2015
cover
Artist: When
Title: The Black Death
Format: 12"
Label: Ideologic Organ (@)
Rated: *****
The sonic rendering of the pestilential wind that according to some ridiculous conjectures by so-called doctors about the origin of the so-called Black Death, which almost caused the extinction of humans in the fourteenth century, was attracted by a planetary conjuction from the depths of the earth before getting pushed back on Earth with the venomous recipe that God added to it - it seems incredible, but it's true - opens this old record - it was recorded at Sound Sector in Oslo with the support by sound engineer Bernt Kanstad in summer 1992 - by which Lars Pederson translated into sounds Theodor Kittelsen's "Svartdauen", a sort of dark poem inspired by Black eath in Norway, which killed almost two thirds of the populations, including the whole medieval aristocracy - Norway had no heirs to throne in those ages! -. Both the macabre theme and the astonishing sound-collage by which he rendered it, including gnawing rats, whining horses, moaning people, grinding wood, Death's snigger and quotations from traditional Norwegian folk music and dirges, turned Pedersen's solo-project When and this release in particular into a sort of cult listening by fans of Norwegian black metal scene - not so many people know that Varg Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh (the man behind Burzum) as well as many other black metal musicians of that scene considered this When album an essential listening in the heydays of burning churches in Norway -. In between environmental sound poems by Luc Ferrari and Nurse With Wound's dadaist studio experiments - even if When's "The Black Death" reminded to me some really obscure less known stuff from Laibach such as their disquieting album "Krst Pod Triglavom - Baptism" -, this listening experience should be listened while reading Kittelsen's Svartedauen - I read it last year on the occasion of the issue of an Italian translation which followed the celebration of 100 years from the death of its inventie author and illustrator -. Check it out and beware of the rat fleas!


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha